Indonesian immigrants seeking asylum facing deportation
Four Indonesian men who escaped to New Jersey to avoid religious persecution and potential death have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for deportation.
Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale, who provided the men sanctuary for a time until they were cleared to stay in the United States, is again trying to win their freedom.
The four men are ethnic Chinese Christians who escaped in the 1990s after they were persecuted in Indonesia. They stayed with Kaper-Dale and the Reformed Church of Highland Park in 2012.
ICE officials say that the four men waited too long to file for official asylum so they are now technically in the country illegally.
"Aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas have violated our nation's laws and can pose a threat to national security and public safety,” a spokesperson for ICE says in a statement.
The men met with ICE representatives Monday morning expecting to be granted another “stay of removal.” They were detained instead and are being prepped for deportation.
Immigration attorney Asma Warsi says that she has been busy with clients ever since the Trump administration started greater enforcement of immigration laws. Warsi says that there are some ways that those facing deportation can be saved.
“If they have U.S. citizen children or U.S. citizen spouses, what they can file for a stay of removal,” she says. “In essence it’s a plea for mercy.”
Kaper-Dale blames the president for the issues.
“Bottom line – These are people who don’t matter to him, so he can destroy their lives.